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Hum

Endless feedback, a heavenly drone, and an obsession with science and outer space: these three elements perhaps most define the beautiful style that has become the trademark of the unmatchable Hum. Despite a career marked with slight commercial successes, most obviously their 1996 radio hit "Stars," Hum have never quite been given the full attention and emphasis that they deserve.

Forming in 1989 in the now notorious musical region of metro Illinois, more specifically in Champaign-Urbana, the band released their first album, Fillet Show, on the 12 Inch label created by a friend's band the Poster Children. This album displays a markedly different style from the feeling they would later create, probably due to the lineup change that would soon follow. Poster Children members Jeff Dimpsey and Tim Lash took up bass and guitar responsibilities respectively, and Hum, in their true form, released their last independent album, Electra 2000, on the band's own label Martians Go Home. Electra 2000's somewhat rough production perfectly captured the spacy, other-worldish sound of the band, but their greatest work was yet to come. The band supported the album by touring with such pronounced indie acts as Shellac, the Jesus Lizard, and more well-known ones such as the Smashing Pumpkins and Liz Phair.

After signing to major label RCA in 1994, Hum released their benchmark album You'd Prefer an Astronaut, eventually selling nearly 250,000 primarily due to their breakthrough radio single "Stars." Subsequent touring with Bush and the Toadies further pushed the band into somewhat of a spotlight, but due to the short memory of popular music and the lack of understanding of the public to such quirky and heartfelt music, this would be the pinnacle of Hum's media attention. At this point, Hum had established a strong, somewhat underground and die-hard fan base that realized just how incredible and endless their music was.

Four years passed with mouths watering between the release of their first major-label effort and 1998's Downward Is Heavenward, as the band took some time off to relax and incubate. This, their fourth and sadly last album, was recorded twice, due to the band's perfectionist tactics in the studio and their promise that every member must love every part of every song. The wait was well worth the product, as Downward Is Heavenward is one of the most darkly romantic and timeless albums ever created. Hum's gorgeous, spacy, and limitless sound expand to new lengths; however, those unfamiliar with the band remained so. The album sold poorly, only 38,000 copies in two years, and resulted in RCA's decision to drop them from their roster. Further misfortune struck as their tour van was destroyed in an accident while touring, essentially pounding the last nail in the coffin. ~ Blake Butler, Rovi
full bio

Comments

This is such a GREAT f**king song. I love the passion and ferocity in his voice.
Most underrated great rock band of all time. They werent as popular as the pumkins because they were not managed and promoted like they should have been. Coming out of the same area at the same time with, in my opinion, better music. Yet the pumkins hit it big and hum doesnt. Im a pumkins fan but hum touches my soul.
awesome
Hum rhymes with yum.
Little Dipper is mine. UGH!!! the sound of ELECTRA 2000 is so raw, heavy, and full of f**king emotion!!!
Great band, The Pod is still one of my favorite tunes!
These guys are the definition of great 90's music. Self influenced, full of sound, and of course, dat distortion.
This band will never die in my eyes. Truly amazing in every way. Just one more album, Hum; please, just one more album.
Favorite. Band. Ever.
so much music in their noise - love it
GREAT song. Almost perfect, IMO.
So beautiful. No words for all the love.
I remember the song Space, heavy rotation on the stereo at work. That is all I ever heard from them.
honestman697
sorry to hear this - love the wall of sound mixed with the lyric show
I always come back around to Hum full circle
I am definately one of the 38,000?! Always have Hum on rotation.
Also, you are soooo right on that foodanglio.
bobfdn
woohoo I'm also one of the 38,000 :)
johndq
Going back, I think this was one of THE BEST tracks of the 90s.
Downward is Heavenward is one of the best albums ever made. I highly recommend you listen to it while under the influence of mushrooms. The album truly becomes alive.
stick0007
one listen and you will become a die hard.. truly a epic band.
own all the albums...
Absolutely love Hum. Saw them in '96 in a small club in Sioux Falls SD, strictly unbelievable . . . .
circa '95. watching mtv. three videos that changed my life forever. Korn's Blind, Fliter's Hey man nice shot, and Hum's Stars...
Hum...full on genius.
man they are as good today as they ever sounded this band really knows how to keep it goin after all these years
gunderwhelme d
Holy cow! 38,000? Really??? Well, I'm one of them!
michaelrickl e y
I am one of the 38,000. Love that album!
hunter.oxley
I'm proud to be one of the 38,000 people who bought Downward is Heavenward in 1998. Unfortunatel y some jackhole stole all my CD's out of my car in 2007 and it was among the lost. : (
rigobertovin d i o l a
They are playing tomorrow night in Austin at Fun Fun Fun Fest.
If there was one band i wish could come back it would be these guys.
wish.they'd. p l a y . a g a i n
i'd love to see them come back... too few true artists on the market today. here's hoping...
kbarton73
Downward is Heavenward is a seriously underrated album. It should be much more popular than it is.
Here's hoping the guys are receiving some nice royalty chex for their song being used in the Cadillac ads. Maybe they can finally get that tour van fixed and get back on the road.
aaron.warric k
I saw Hum in '98. Their set blew me away. I had no idea they hadn't been around in the years since. I always assumed they were somewhere making their amazing music for the underground masses. :| I'm deeply saddened to hear they're dissolved.
sMAck iznt thiz powderful ! Luv em ! Godd Blezz Em . Pleeeez pud A neww ALbumm owwt . 4sake uv Ure fanZ . JUzd damm gud sTuv .
Hum is simply rocking fantastic. They absolutely blew me away at one of their shows. If only there had been a better marketing plan for Downward is Heavenward. It's not too late in my opinion - bring it back in a big way Hum! Your fans all agree - you are just too good to not be out there any more.
wish i had heard them earlier. dang man.

sunny day gets closer than any other "similar" artist...kin d a surprised they didn't throw neervarna up there.
amazing
f**king miss this band
I miss these guys. Loved YPAA.
Mind blowingly good live. YPAA really helped me through the 'just graduated college blues'
Their drummer is amazing. Love his playing style.
Could be the greatest band of all time. I saw them three times. Once on the "you'd prefer an astronaut tour" and twice during the "downward is heavenward" tour. I can't say enough about how great it would be for them to get another album going. If I ever met a woman that loved Hum as much as me, I'd probably have to marry her.
awilkening0
Saw them in St. Louis. Can't even begin to explain how awesome they were, could have been one of their shows back in '94. Super cool guys too, hung out with the fans after the show!
sk8bro5000
We are not alone
I can't even explain what Downward is Heavenward means to me. These guys were a huge part of a huge part of my life. I wish I could have seen them live.
The bands out now remind me of this one some. I think HUM was a little before their time. Chevelle's new 2009 album reminds me of HUM. But most wouldn't ever notice. HUM's a great band!!
piratemgm
astronaut and downward represent a huge time in my life. the songs on these albums where there for me in some pretty iconic times! I love these albums..
I was hoping they'd return to the studio to record another album since they've recently reunited to play reunion shows. But I haven't heard anything.
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